Statutory warning: This author urges you to obey traffic rules, co operate with traffic police and follow safe driving practices. This post only gives some basic tips on reducing inconveniences you might face with law enforcers and by no means encourages you to break rules.
If you’re driving across on Indian roads, you would have probably noticed traffic police pulling over people (99% of them two wheeler drivers, traffic cop dashes in front of the speeding vehicle to make them stop and pull over). They do not check each and every vehicle on road, but pull over few vehicles randomly.
How do they work and what are the steps I can take to avoid them?
1. They try to identify the changes in facial expression of riders. Ideally, if you have some fault (say not having a Driving License) your face will show a sense of disturbance/insecurity when you see a cop suddenly (Oh! I didn’t bring my DL what shall I do if the cop asks for it). Traffic police are trained to note this change in facial expression and will definitely ask you to step aside if you show a sense of fear (Most of the people they identify will usually have one fault or other). So, to protect yourself, DO NOT change your facial expression (Dark face helmets will help a lot). Do not make abrupt changes in the speed/direction/lane as well.
2. Use the right most lane. Traffic police are positioned at left most lane and those coming in left most lane become easy victims. If you’re driving in right most lane it is unlikely that the cop will cross one or two lanes and stand in front of you to pull you over.
3. Never make eye contact with the cop. That is suicidal. It is like asking “Should I pull over and show my papers?” In all probability the police constable will indicate you to do so. Keep your eye on the road and keep moving.
OK. I have full respect towards these cops. They put in lot of effort in regulating the traffic amidst hot sun or heavy rain (or however harsh the weather may be). The only complaint I have is that they don’t treat everyone equally. If someone doesn’t slow down but speeds away, these cops make no attempt to chase them and fine them (first of all they don’t have vehicles that can go faster than today’s top speed bikes and cars (Chennai police do have Accent-Details here). They don’t have the determination to make everyone (irrespective of their financial or social position) who breaks a rule to pay fine but need some bakras to cough up some money and usually middle class people traveling on two wheelers become easy targets. We hardly see any car drivers/RTC buses asked to pull over though truck drivers are targeted sometimes (probably because if couple of cars are stopped, there’ll be traffic jam…) Extremely rich people go Scot free, either because these cops don’t dare question them or the rich people easily scare these cops quoting their “high level contacts”. Extremely poor people are also eventually let free, because they have nothing to cough up. Only middle class people end up paying fine (or giving bribe)
Best practices when you’re pulled over:
A. Assume you’re asked to step aside and show your documents. How to minimize inconvenience at that time?
1. Keep all papers (RC, Insurance, DL, emission etc) handy.
2. Cooperate with them. Don’t enter into heated argument. That will make things worse.
3. If you have no fault with you (you have all documents, not violated any rules etc) then there shouldn’t be a problem.
B. Assume there’s an obvious mistake from your side:
If your mistake is obvious, you’ve violated a rule, PLEASE OFFER TO PAY THE FINE. Irrespective of what others do, that is our responsibility as a sincere citizen. Do not attempt to justify your mistake. (Not knowing the law is not an excuse)
1. Keep the emission test validity sticker clearly visible from a distance.
2. If possible learn some local language and try to speak to them in local language. Using other languages will give them a hint that you’re relatively rich as you’re here on education/job from elsewhere.
3. Don’t ever tell them you’re an IT/Call center employee. The fine/bribe amount triples instantly. Your old college ID card may come handy.
4. Keep minimum cash in your wallet. These people are also human and are kind enough. If you can show them that all you have is 60 rupees, chances are that they will take that money, keep Rs 50, return 10 Rs to you and let you go. If you have several crisp notes, it will be very very difficult to defend yourself or your money. Keep that extra cash elsewhere.
5. Never reveal you’re in extreme hurry. These cops have no value for your time. Stay calm, wait for some time, your chances improve.
6. If a lady is traveling with you ask her to take an auto and leave. (It is a general assumption that guys would prefer to cough up some money and leave quickly instead of arguing, when a lady is present besides, and cops (or anyone for that matter) would love to exploit this opportunity.
If you have any more tips, please share.
With all respect to these police forces and their duties, I recommend following below mentioned best practices while driving:
1. Carry all required documents (DL, Emission Certificate, RC, Insurance, No due certificate (for inter state vehicles) etc)
2. Do not break rules. Please respect them.
3. Do not overspeed. Speed certainly thrills, but only till it kills.
4. Keep your vehicles in good condition.
5. Respect other users of road
6. Do not cut lanes/honk wildly/jump signals/park at wrong places
7. Wear helmet/seat belt
Second image sourced from Chandigar Traffic Police website
INFO: Dakshina Kannada (South Canara) Police have an official blog: Read here
Related: 1. A good experience with Chennai Police
2.Chennai police get Hundai Accent cars
3. Drivers' Insticts
4. An article on some fancy number plates spotted in Hyderabad (with photos)
5. Videos of Shrinidhi Driving a tractor
Watch this interesting video below of how vehicles regulate themselves in Hyderabad, India. It happens only in India...
Special Thanks to Mr. Harman, Chandigarh Traffic Police WebMaster for visiting this blog and leaving a comment. I only hope I will not be booked under official secrets act (or some other case) for revealing national secrets...Please checkout their website: ArriveSafe.org for comprehensive information on road safety.